School starts tomorrow here in Salem, Oregon, at least for the staff. Most kids don’t actually come back until Wednesday. And for me–first as a student, then as a parent, and now as an educator–the start of school has always been the start of a new year.
I stand on the cusp of the new school year a little sad; summer is truly over, and it rains a lot in Salem during the fall, winter, and spring.
However, I also stand hopeful and a little excited. The commencement of the school year shakes up my routines, creating room for me to reflect on what is working and what is not, and what I need, long for, and aspire to.
My objective this school year is to live a well-rounded life. Balance has been my buzzword for so long, however I think in focusing on balancing my responsibilities to God, family, work, and self, I am missing what I really long for and what I need. This year, I want to live my life fully around the whole calendar, not constantly postponing what matters or what is needed until weekends or the holidays.
How do I propose to do this? Lists!
I know, your first thought is, “Crazy you! Aren’t lists the things that exhaust you and make you feel like a failure in the first place?”
Well, yes, but these lists are different. One set of lists are sane routines tailored to the demands of each day of the week. They cover the basics–like housework and exercise. However, the newest list is my “happy secret.” It is a reminder of what I love, what makes me feel content, creative, productive, alive–things like drawing, reading widely, learning something new, hand sewing, or crafting for people I love.
So with my little 3 x 5 cards of routines and my enrichment list of activities that I will no longer put off, I enter this new year ready to fully live my life day-to-day, month-to-month, throughout the year.